When I was a girl, about eight or so, I fell in love with those little historical biographies of Dolly Madison and Martha Washington and Pocahontas and Clara Barton, etc. Though that old Kentucky library is long gone, I can still recall standing by that particular shelf near the window and gazing at all those delicious books. I had my favorites and Jennie Lind was one of them. So when I read this in my devotional book recently, I was cast back to the past in a very meaningful way.
I count all things but loss for the excellency of the knowledge of Christ Jesus my Lord. ~Philippians 3:8
The Swedish Nightingale, Jennie Lind, won great success as an operatic singer, and money poured into her purse. Yet she left the stage while she was singing her best, and never returned to it. She must have missed the money, the fame, and the applause of thousands, but she was content to live in privacy.
Once an English friend found her sitting on the steps of a bathing machine on the sea sands with a Bible on her knee, looking into the glory of a sunset. They talked, and the conversation drew near to the inevitable question: "Oh, Madame Goldschmidt, how is it that you came to abandon the stage at the very height of your success?"
"When every day," was the quiet answer, "it made me think less of this (laying a finger on the Bible) and nothing at all of that (pointing to the sunset), what else could I do?" ~Springs in the Valley
This devotional was so touching I highlighted it to read again and again. Although few of us will ever be in a position like Jenny Lind with her overwhelming success, it's good to remember WHO we serve and why we must keep Him at the forefront of our lives and ministry, no matter what it is He's called us to do.
Do you remember reading those little historical bios, too? Did you have a favorite? I think our love of history starts very early:) Better yet, what do Jenny Lind's timeless words mean to you today?